Money Trees are lovely houseplants with multiple trunks and a lush canopy of leaves. These easy-care houseplants are sometimes considered difficult or fussy regarding water. However, Money Tree plants are easy to water when you understand what the plant needs. The Pachira aquatica is native to wetlands in Central and South America. This plant naturally grows in damp conditions and requires a similar setting to thrive as a houseplant. Here is how to identify and save an underwatered Money Tree.
The biggest clue that your Money Tree needs water is when the soil is dry. Allow the top couple of inches of soil to dry before watering the plant. Money Trees like to be damp but do not want to be soggy, so do not water your plant if the top layer of soil is moist.
Feeling the soil is the most dependable way to determine the dryness, but you can also use a moisture meter. A moisture meter is a device that can measure soil dryness. Insert the prongs to the appropriate depth and water when the gauge indicates dry soil. Some moisture meters use a scale to gauge the degree of dryness, but anything within the ‘dry’ range is acceptable. Remember that you want to measure the dryness in the top couple of inches for Money Tree houseplants and not any deeper.
Leaves alert you to the health and condition of plants. Healthy Money Tree leaves are flat and elliptical and have a pronounced midrib and veins that radiate from the midrib to the edges of the foliage. The midrib and veins are slightly indented, creating a subtle ripple texture across the entire surface of each leaf.
Leaves turning yellow at the tips indicate the plant is overwatered, but when the entire leaf turns yellow, you’re dealing with an underwatered Money Tree. A yellow tinge slowly engulfing the entire leaf alerts you to an underwatered houseplant. Yellow leaves turn brown, dry out, and fall from the plant.
Wilting Leaves and Stems
Drooping or wilting stems indicate an underwatered Money Tree. As the plant dries out, the leaves will appear wavy or crinkled and begin to curl. These changes in appearance often happen immediately after a yellow tint forms.
Money Tree plants are naturally fast growers if they receive proper care. Underwatered Money Tree plants may experience slow growth. A slightly underwatered plant may not show signs of full-on dehydration, like yellow and curling leaves, but it may still falter because it is not getting enough water. Slow growth can be hard to notice, but it is often the first sign of an underwatered Money Tree.
Many symptoms can have multiple causes, so don’t look at curling leaves and assume the plant needs water but curling leaves, dry soil, and slow growth likely mean you have an underwatered Money Tree. Foliage may curl when the humidity is too low, the plant suffers from fertilizer burn, or pests have damaged the leaves. Investigate further and look for multiple signs to determine the true cause of the issue. Underwatering is a common problem and is likely to happen, but ensure it is the real issue before taking action. Mistreating a problem can cause more trouble.
How to Water Money Tree Plants
Water a plant at the first sign of underwatering. Most houseplants can recover from underwatering if they get a drink right away. Water your Money Tree when the top couple of inches of soil are dry. The soil should be completely wet when watering a Money Tree plant. Drench the potting mix until excess water drains through the plant pot. Empty the cover pot or saucer so excess water is not reabsorbed.
Parched plants may need a soak if the soil has become dry and caked. Fill a bucket, sink, or tub with a few inches of water and place the potted Money Tree, pot, and all in the water. The soil will absorb moisture through the drainage holes. Let the plant soak for 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove any damaged growth after watering. Trim Yellow or dry foliage. Do not remove drooping stems because those should perk up after they have had time to recover. Never remove more than ⅓ of a plant, so be careful not to over-prune a severely dehydrated plant.
Create a Watering Routine
Money Tree plants are easy to maintain and generally very low maintenance. Always feel the soil before watering to make sure the plant needs water. Create a watering routine to ensure your plant is healthy and hydrated. For instance, check your plants on the same day each week to create a habit. You may not need to water on the same day, but checking in will reduce the risk of over or underwatered Money Tree plants.